Government urged to divert Brexit festival money to funding free school meals over summer

Boris Johnson's government has been accused of syphoning off funds that could go towards continuing

Boris Johnson's government has been accused of syphoning off funds that could go towards continuing school lunches over the summer to a Brexit festival; PA Photo, Yui Mok/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The government has been accused of funnelling the same amount it would cost to cover free school meals over the summer into a festival for Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats have accused Boris Johnson of being 'callous and heatless' after going ahead with plans to divert £120 million that could feed hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged children during the summer holidays on a party to commemorate Brexit.

Lib Dems education spokesperson, Layla Moran, made the intervention ahead of an opposition debate today on calls to extend free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Downing Street recently confirmed that the Festival for Brexit will be going ahead in 2022, with £120 million of taxpayers' money earmarked for the event.

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This is the precise amount it would have cost to extend free school meals to all eligible pupils over the six-week summer holiday.

The government has since backtracked on its commitment not to fund school lunches during the holidays in an announcement over the last hour.

Speaking on the issue, Moran said: 'Leaving children hungry while ploughing millions into Brexit propaganda is callous and heartless. This appalling waste of money shows where the government's priorities lie.

'It's not rocket science. If the government can spend £120 million on a Brexit 'festival', they could easily spend the same on ensuring the most disadvantaged children have enough to eat over the summer holidays.'

She added:'It is about time that the education secretary went to the training ground with Marcus Rashford to take some lessons on how best to support the most vulnerable pupils.'

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